UN Official in Calls for Thailand Law Reform
A leading UN official on freedom of expression and human rights has called on the Asian nation of Thailand to seriously consider changing the law in regard to Lese Majeste. Frank La Rue is urging the country to have a serious public consultation and debate over the controversial law as he said that it may be coming into conflict with Thailand’s human rights obligations.
The Lese Majeste law means that anyone who offends or in some way insults the Thai monarchy can expect to serve a long and arduous prison sentence. Indeed, another controversial Thai law (The Computer Crimes Act) is also serving to prosecute and convict people under the harsh terms of the Lese Majeste law. Anyone found guilty of defamation against the Royal Family, and especially online due to the new legislation, can be imprisoned for up to 5 years in Thailand’s brutal penal system.
La Rue argues that it fundamentally violates the human right of freedom of expression something that Thailand is supposed to adhere to given that, since 1996, it has been a supporter of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights which legal binds the country to certain human rights obligations that La Rue believes it is breaking. Indeed the UN official further states that both Thai’s Lese Majeste law and the Computer Crimes Act are ambiguous in their wording and can lead to some very vague and unclear convictions; another breach of the international human rights charter that the country is supposedly following.